14 April 2022, SEOUL More than 80% of Korean auto industry workers favor a ban on the manufacture of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2035, according to a survey published by Greenpeace East Asia (GPEA) Seoul office in cooperation with the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU).

Daul Jang, Greenpeace East Asia Government Relations and Advocacy Specialist, said: 

“Auto union workers are thinking more progressively than the corporations they work for. The results of this survey send a strong signal to President-elect Yoon that he needs to follow through on his election pledge to ban the new registration of ICE vehicles by 2035. After all, it is corporate leadership that is holding back ambitious climate action, not auto industry employees.”

Deok-heon Son, Vice President of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union, said:

Korean auto workers take the climate crisis seriously and understand that it is also an economic crisis. An earlier transition to electric vehicles would be a smarter strategy to tackle the climate crisis as well as to ensure the competitiveness of the Korean auto industry. The transition must be just and inclusive, and workers and unions need to be respected as key stakeholders in the process.”

Key findings:

– 63.5% of auto industry workers said that they support a ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles by or before 2030, five years earlier than the timeline laid out in President-elect Yoon’s election pledge. 82.2% of respondents said they support a ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles by 2035.

94.3% of respondents said that the climate crisis was “extremely” or “very” serious, with a majority citing a recent increase in extreme weather events as the reason that they recognized the severity of the crisis.  

– 94.9% of respondents said that the auto industry was “extremely” or “very” related to the climate crisis. “Employment retention during transition” was cited most frequently as a key consideration for the government in its just transition policy for the auto industry, followed by “governance structure engaging labor unions.”

The nationwide survey was conducted by polling organization The Research Group and was based on responses by 1,019 workers at Hyundai Motors, Kia and GM Korea, with a sampling error of ±3.06% points and at a confidence level of 95%.

A recent study by Cambridge Econometrics and Greenpeace East Asia found that a ban on the registration of new ICE vehicles in Korea would strengthen energy independence, decrease dependence on oil imports and increase the total number of jobs and GDP.


A summary of the survey is available here.

Greenpeace East Asia Seoul office and the KMWU will host a joint press conference on April 14 at 1:30 pm (KST). The press conference will be live-streamed here (in Korean). Photos from the event will be available in this folder.

Media contacts: 

Erin Newport, International Communications Officer, Greenpeace East Asia, +886 958​ 026 791, [email protected]

Minsoo Suh, Communications Officer, Greenpeace East Asia Seoul Office, +82 10 8915 2399 [email protected]

Daul Jang, Government Relations & Advocacy Specialist, Greenpeace East Asia Seoul Office, +82 10 4036 4207, [email protected]